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Eviction news

City pushes on with plans for eviction of Salt River Market traders

By | Eviction news, Evictions

Reprinted from iol.co.za, by Zolani Sinxo – 2024-05-12

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town is continuing with its plans to evict historic Salt River Market traders who, for decades, have used the venue to not only sell their goods but also to share cultural experiences with customers and residents.

The City recently filed an urgent court application to evict the last remaining tenants who refuse to leave the market.

The once popular market, which was filled with colour, now tells the tale of its decline, with only about four stalls left.

The dispute comes after the City told the traders that the site was earmarked for social housing.

Igshaan Higgins, an activist lawyer who has been vocal on the matter, said the eviction process could have been avoided if the City followed through on its commitment to explore relocating the traders to a suitable trading location.

“Unfortunately, the City opted for an urgent High Court application against financially disadvantaged traders who are unable to adequately defend themselves.

“These traders now face the burden of covering the City’s legal costs, regardless of their decision to contest the matter.

“Many of these individuals have operated businesses at the Salt River Market for over half a century, with their staff now facing unemployment,” said Higgins.

“It is my hope that the City will keep its expensive and overzealous lawyers at bay while trying to find an amicable solution through negotiation and/or mediation.”

Human settlements Mayco member Carl Pophaim said the City was releasing inner city land for affordable housing on an accelerated basis, and Salt River Market was one of various municipal-owned properties in central Cape Town — with a yield of over 3 500 units — that had already been released to social housing developers, including Pine Road, Dillon Lane, and Pickwick in Woodstock, and the Maitland Mews development.

“In line with our agenda to build a City of Hope by enabling much more social housing in well-located areas, the Salt River Market development will include 300 social housing units,” Popham said.

“It will also include a public square, alongside a community hall, anchor retail shops, and convenience retail (such as a hairdresser, laundry, etc) that will create many opportunities for small businesses. The development proposal pays special attention to the historical context of this site,” said Pophaim.

He said development was planned to accommodate the remaining four historical fresh produce sellers.

“The City has held extensive engagements with all the traders on the site, resulting in most of the remaining commercial traders agreeing to relocate on a voluntary basis,” said Popham.

“The land was released by the City council to the successful developer in July 2022, with construction set to start soon in July 2024.

“This is, however, being delayed by only four remaining traders who have, since 2019, been earning an income by trading illegally on the site without a lease agreement at Salt River Market and who do not trade in fresh produce or associated goods.

“Despite ample notice of the City’s intention to release the site for social housing development, these four traders have continued to make commercial gains without even paying for the water and electricity they consume on site.”


For further information

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a law firm of specialist eviction lawyers in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. We help landlords and tenants maintain healthy working relationships. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or simon@sdlaw.co.za if you need help with tenants’ rights or landlords’ responsibilities.

Further reading:

Echoes of District Six evictions in case before the Constitutional Court

By | Eviction news, Evictions, Homeless

Reprinted from GroundUp, by Masego Mafata – 2024-02-28

Judges question City of Cape Town about eviction of Bromwell Street tenants

  • The City of Cape Town appeared before the Constitutional Court on Tuesday in a case concerning the eviction of tenants from Bromwell Street, Woodstock.
  • Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga asked the City whether the planned eviction resembled the forced removals from District Six during apartheid.
  • Ndifuna Ukwazi, on behalf of the Bromwell Street tenants, has argued that the City’s exclusion of emergency accommodation in its housing plans for the inner-city is unconstitutional.
  • The City said it was not obliged to provide emergency accommodation in the inner-city.
  • Judgment was reserved.

Judgment in the eviction of City of Cape Town tenants from Bromwell Street in Woodstock was reserved in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday.

During the hearing, Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga asked the City if the eviction echoed the displacement of families from District Six under apartheid. “Is this not a refined, modern-day District Six type of displacement?” asked Justice Madlanga.

Housing advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU), on behalf of the Bromwell Street residents facing eviction, had approached the Constitutional Court to appeal against a 2023 judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal which overturned an order by the Western Cape High Court. The High Court had ruled in 2021 that the City’s emergency housing policy is unconstitutional and ordered the City to provide emergency housing in the inner city for the Bromwell Street families.

The Bromwell Street cottages were bought by Woodstock Hub Pty Ltd, a property development company, for R3.15-million in 2013.

The residents began their protracted legal battle against their eviction in 2016. They are long-term tenants of the cottages who work and attend schools in surrounding areas and the inner city. Among their requests has been that the City provide emergency accommodation in the inner city so that they can stay close to their places of work and schooling.

Arguing for the residents, advocate Sheldon Magardie said the City prioritised social housing over accommodation in the inner city, and this ultimately excluded people rendered homeless following an eviction. This, Magardie argued, was unreasonable, irrational and unconstitutional. Many of the Bromwell Street residents would not qualify for the City’s social housing programmes “because they don’t earn enough money to qualify”, said Magardie.

The City’s social housing programme, for which houses in Woodstock are still to be built, is “a rental or co-operative housing option for households earning between R1,850 and R22,000 a month,” according to this Western Cape Government website.

“The inevitable outcome for any person in need of emergency housing in the inner city is relocation to the Incremental Development Areas or Temporary Relocation Areas on the outskirts of the city,” Magardie told the court.

In a lengthy exchange between Justice Leona Theron and Magardie, Justice Theron questioned the lack of clarity from NU regarding which specific housing policy and which specific sections in that policy were unconstitutional.

Magardie responded by saying that the City did not have a singular housing policy but relied on various pieces of legislation and policies.

On behalf of the City, advocate Karrisha Pillay SC argued that no legislation or policy made it an obligation for the City to provide emergency accommodation in the inner city for people who have been evicted in the inner city. “The City does not have emergency accommodation in the inner city,” she said.

Pillay said the City had made offers of temporary emergency housing in Wolwerivier, Maitland and Kampies, all of which had been rejected by the Bromwell residents.

Is this a special case?

Acting Justice Matthew Chaskalson asked advocate Magardie whether the Bromwell Street case should be treated as a special case or an ordinary eviction case.

“We are dealing with lawful tenants who were only evicted because of the consequences of the City’s housing policy. We are not talking about illegal occupiers … This particular community is one of a handful of communities that managed to survive apartheid intact, in a white area … What this process is doing is aggravating spatial apartheid by pushing poor coloured people to the outskirts of the city,” said Justice Chaskalson. He said this made him wonder whether the case should be treated as a special case.

Magardie argued that this was indeed a special case. He said the historical context of Bromwell Street and the question of spatial justice made the City’s action against the Bromwell families unreasonable.

Abahlali baseMjondolo, represented by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, supported NU as amicus curiae, and also argued for a special case as it could develop the law to give sufficient guidance on the location of emergency accommodation.

Advocate Jason Brickhill, on behalf of Abahlali, told the court that currently the law does not give clear guidance on the location of emergency accommodation or on access to services in the accommodation.

But Pillay argued that the applicants had at no point pleaded the case as a special case. She added that if the case had been pleaded as such, the City “may have well said we’ll drop two social housing programmes for emergency housing programmes” in the inner city. But, she said, as it stands, the City does not have the funds or the land available to create emergency accommodation in the inner city because ten of the 11 land parcels that the City owns are designated for social housing.

Judgment was reserved.


For further information

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a law firm of specialist eviction lawyers in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. We help landlords and tenants maintain healthy working relationships. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or simon@sdlaw.co.za if you need help with tenants’ rights or landlords’ responsibilities.

Further reading:

High Court grants City of Cape Town final eviction order

By | Eviction news, Evictions, Homeless

Reprinted from News24, by Marvin Charles – 2024-02-15

The Western Cape High Court has granted a final eviction order in the City of Cape Town’s application to remove homeless people living around Culemborg in the Cape Town CBD.

These areas are in the vicinity of the Nelson Mandela Boulevard intersection with Hertzog Boulevard, Old Marine Drive, and Christiaan Barnard Bridge.

The order includes a standing interdict against any further unlawful occupation of these areas and other City-owned public spaces identified in the order.

In February last year, the court granted the City an interim order for eviction notices to be served at unlawful occupation hotspots along Buitengracht Street, FW de Klerk Boulevard, Foregate Square, Taxi Rank and Foreshore, Helen Suzman Boulevard, Strand Street, Foreshore/N1, Virginia Avenue and Mill Street Bridge.

Over the past few years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown, the number of destitute residents has increased.

The Cape Town CBD, specifically, has seen a sharp increase in people sleeping rough.

The High Court said the City should provide alternative accommodation at its Safe Spaces, and that those who intended taking up alternative accommodation should let the City know no later than 7 March.

It also ordered that the homeless people should vacate the property by 14 March.

“In the event that the respondents [the homeless] fail or refuse to vacate the affected areas of the property, the sheriff and person appointed by the police to the extent necessary, is authorised and directed to from 15 March 2024 to 15 June 2024 to eject the respondents from the affected areas of the property,” it ordered.

The court also authorised the demolishing and removal of structures unlawfully occupied by people should they refuse to vacate.

In a statement, the City said: “The final eviction order for the Culemborg area follows efforts over time by the City to offer social assistance and care interventions to those persons unlawfully occupying public spaces in the area, which is close to City-run Safe Space facilities offering dignified transitional shelter and social programmes to assist people off the streets sustainably.

“Safe Spaces aim to reintegrate people into society, and reunite them with family. Personal development planning and employment opportunities are made available, as are referrals for mental health, medical, and substance abuse treatment.”


For further information

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a law firm of specialist eviction lawyers in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. We help landlords and tenants maintain healthy working relationships. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or simon@sdlaw.co.za if you need help with tenants’ rights or landlords’ responsibilities.

Further reading: